Regulators in North Carolina and Michigan announced separately this week that they saved or recovered more than a combined $67 million for consumers in those states as a result of overseeing insurer business practices, investigating disputed claims and other efforts.
The North Carolina Department of Insurance recouped about $30 million for auto, homeowner and other policyholders and helped Medicare beneficiaries save another roughly $12 million, according to officials.
Commissioner Wayne Goodwin credited the dedication of department staff members for holding insurers to high standards, assisting state residents with coverage-related questions and complaints and rooting out dishonest claims activity.
“We are committed to building on this success as we continue protecting consumers in 2012,” Goodwin said in a news release.
The department’s consumer services division reportedly reclaimed more than $16.4 million in benefits for consumers through following up on consumer complaints and questions about North Carolina car insurance, as well as residential, life and other types of coverage. Officials said the division handled about 76,000 calls and 8,100 written complaints during the year.
Criminal investigations of dubious claims and unscrupulous activity associated with motor clubs, premium finance companies and other business entities led to 144 arrests, 83 criminal convictions and more than $10.4 million in restitution and recoveries, Goodwin’s department announced. Another 109 cases are reportedly still pending.
And the department’s market regulation division ordered nearly $2.2 million be returned to policyholders as a result of routine and targeted examinations of the business practices of insurers aimed at determining whether they are in compliance with state laws and regulations.
Michigan Regulators Recoup $25 Million for Consumers
In Michigan, meanwhile, regulators announced they returned more than $25 million to policyholders in 2011.
Officials with the state Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) said more than $5 million of that total was the result of reversing claims denials and getting premium refunds for residents with auto, home, life and other policies.
“OFIR’s hardworking consumer assistance staff remains focused on helping Michigan citizens navigate through the state’s complex financial service industry,” Commissioner Kevin Clinton said in a release.
Regulators recovered another $19 million by helping to resolve disputes between residents and mortgage companies and assisting consumers with mortgage modifications, officials said.